What Are Laminated Glass Windows?

What Are Laminated Glass Windows?

Interested in safety glass for the windows or doors in your home? Laminated glass is a common choice for residential applications but it’s not the only choice. 

You may already know about the benefits of tempered glass so in this post you’ll learn more about laminated windows–construction, benefits, drawbacks, and costs. By the end, you’ll be able to decide which safety glass is the right choice for your home. 

LEARN MORE: What are tempered glass windows?

Laminated glass for residential windows

How Are Laminated Windows Constructed?

Laminated glass is a type of safety glazing constructed by uniting two sheets of glass with a sturdy interlayer and applying heat and pressure to create an inseparable bond. 

via GIPHY(↗) 

This process makes the glass less likely to break out of the frame and it’s less of a threat when broken. 

 

Laminated glass was invented by accident(↗) and eventually patented for use in cars to reduce injuries from accidents. Today it’s commonly used in windows for tall buildings, skylights, and frameless glass railings. 

It’s also commonly requested by homeowners who live near golf courses to protect the home from the impact of golf balls and by those who live near airports to reduce the sound of airplanes overhead. 

Typical Glass Options For Residential Windows

  1. Standard
    Standard glass is called 'annealed' glass. It breaks easily compared to tempered and laminated glass but it's also the most common glass found in residential windows. 
  2. Tempered
    Tempered glass goes through a heating and cooling process that strengthens the glass cut it can still shatter under great impact.
  3. Laminated
    Laminated glass is also strong and can break. Unlike tempered glass, the fragments of glass adhere to the interlayer instead of falling out of the frame.

Safety Glass Is Required When the Following 4 Criteria Are Met:

  1. The size of the glazed opening exceeds 9 sq. ft.
  2. The bottom of the glazing occurs within 18 inches of the floor or horizontal surface below.
  3. The top of the glazing occurs at least 36 inches above the floor or horizontal surface below.
  4. There is a walking surface within 36 inches of the glazing.

Standards are set by the National Glass Association(↗), check with your local code for additional regulations or clarification. 

Any doors made of glass — sliding, French, or shower doors — are all always made with safety glass.

Pros and Cons of Laminated Glass Windows

Benefits of laminated glass windows

  1. Will not break as easily as a standard glass window
  2. When shattered, the broken glass stays in the frame instead of falling out
  3. Reduces noise transmission
  4. Provides security from forced entry
  5. Provides security from environmental threats such as tornadoes or hurricanes

Drawbacks of laminated glass windows

  1. Cost–it costs a few dollars a square foot more than regular tempered glass
  2. Actually easier to break than tempered glass which can lead to more broken glass over time. The difference is that when broken, tempered glass falls out of the frame and laminated glass typically stays in the frame (check out the video above)
  3. It is heavy–in windows, the weight of the glass can wear on the hardware and balances

Let's talk more about the benefits of laminated windows. Homeowners who choose laminated glass windows for their residences do so because of the added sense of safety and security. 

Laminated glass is a strong barrier against forced entry. The interlayer keeps glass in place in the event that the glass is broken and it's resistant to glasscutters. 

Cardinal Glass Industries(↗) is the manufacturer for the majority of laminated glass sold for windows. Their "glass meets rigorous industry codes, including the American Society of Testing Materials standard for preventing forced entry (ASTM F1233) and the burglary resistant guidelines issued by Underwriters Laboratories (UL972)."

Laminated glass can also give you a sense of serenity by reducing the transmission of unwanted outside sounds. Whether it is the sound of traffic, airports, railroads, or even neighbors chatting, if it's unwanted you can greatly reduce outdoor/indoor transmission with laminated windows. Lots of homeowners consider laminated glass when their primary concern is noise reduction, for noise reduction we typically recommend dissimilar glass as a more cost-effective option, learn more in What is Dissimilar Glass?

Additionally, laminated glass also protects floors, furniture, and fabrics from fading. How? Well, laminated glass blocks UV rays preventing it from discoloring the parts of your home that it reaches. According to Cardinal Glass, laminated glass blocks over 95% of UV energy while still letting lots of visible light pass through. 

How Much Do Laminated Windows Cost?

The cost of a laminated window is going to depend on the size and thickness of the glass and the manufacturer. To give you an idea of the cost difference between tempered glass and laminated glass consider one of our standard (36x72) single hung vinyl windows.

Tempered Single Hung Vinyl Window - $325
.090 Laminate Single Hung Vinyl Window - $497
.030 Laminate Single Hung Vinyl Window - $374

When should you choose laminated glass instead of tempered glass?

Here are three occasions when you should choose laminated glass instead of tempered according to Larry Patterson, President of Glass Doctor DFW(↗).

Customers should choose laminated glass instead of tempered glass when they:

  1. Are in very noisy conditions–near major intersections, airports, etc.
  2. When they have a physical security threat they want to protect against
  3. When they have an area of their home they want to secure against environmental threats such as tornadoes

The majority of windows in residential applications contain standard glass. If you’re considering laminated windows for your home consider whether it is required by code and its cost and value compared to tempered windows. 

Remember, not all windows will need or be required to have safety glass. If you're searching for replacement windows or installing new patio doors, consult with a professional before making your final decision. 

For assistance with your North Texas window or door replacement project, give us a call at 817-860-9767 or submit this form to have one of our representatives reach out to you directly. 

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